Youth Leaders

ARISE's Youth Leaders are a cohort of stipended youth who meet throughout the year to support their development, relationships, and work as community organizers.


What do arise

Youth Leaders do?

As an ARISE Youth Leader, you will participate in a range of learning opportunities including:

  • political education trainings, where you will develop your knowledge of systems of power, yourself, your community, and justice work

  • school visits and youth organizing conferences, where you will build power with youth organizers across the country

  • workshops with local community organizers, where you will develop leadership, advocacy, and organizing skills

  • participating in and organizing community workshops, gatherings, and political actions with other youth organizers across the city

  • campaign work to build youth power across the city and fight for educational justice in our public schools

Youth Leaders are expected to participate in an application and orientation process; commit 4-6 hours a week to the program; lead ARISE work within our programs and our larger organization; build relationships with the Youth Leader cohort, other youth organizers, and classmates; share knowledge, skills, and opportunities for leadership with other youth outside of ARISE programs; recruit youth to ARISE programs; and invest in social justice work. 

Our current cohort is working in coalition with youth organizers at Providence Youth Student Movement to launch a campaign for educational justice in the Providence Public School District. 

Current Youth Leaders


Mealaktey Sok

Junior Facilitator | she/her/hers |

Mealaktey Sok is a Cambodian American from Providence, Rhode Island. She is currently a junior at Classical High School. She is the daughter of two Cambodian refugees. She works as a junior facilitator at ARISE to both lead others and learn from others on how to be socially conscious, as well as provide access and success for disadvantaged groups within her community. With her motto, “Always strive and prosper”, she hopes to empower Khmer people and tell their history. She also loves art and hopes that through her work, she can express her ideas in different creative forms.


Salimatou Kaba

Junior Facilitator | she/her/hers | 

Hi I'm Sali Kaba, I was born in Providence, RI and am a Senior at Times 2 STEM Academy. I participated in ARISE programs in Summer 2018 and 2019 to find myself and build confidence. I love the acceptance and positivity that ARISE gives to everyone they encounter and enjoys being in ARISE’s company. I am passionate about self-love, and youth empowerment. I am ready to encourage youth who feel out of place and face new challenges that will help me grow.


Renina Wynn

Junior Facilitator | she/her/hers |

Renina Wynn is a senior at Moses Brown School and one of our Youth Facilitators. She has been with us since our first cohort in the summer of 2017.. She is very passionate about the empowerment of youth, as she has made many of the ARISE videos on our website, and has been a big help with the social media pages. Her growth within ARISE has been exponential. When she first joined ARISE she was also starting high school and felt lost, which has truly been her drive for youth empowerment and confidence development. Lastly Renina really enjoys track and field, video editing, and listening to her favorite artist Rex Orange County. She hopes to attend college next fall.


Jeny daniels-SAVIN

Youth Leader | she/her/hers |

Hello, I’m Jeny (pronounced Jen-I, not Jenny) Daniels. I’m fifteen years old, but I don’t always act like it. My mom is Cambodian and my father is African-American, but according to my friends I am blasian (black and asian). My family consists of me, my three brothers, my sister and my parents. I’m the middle child so I’m always put under pressure. I have to set an example for my older and younger siblings, so I’m used to being a leader. At school, I am the president for my graduating class of 2022. I am also in outdoor track and field, theater, and orchestra. Through these things, I am able to express myself and show that I too can make a difference. Life is too short, so I try to make a difference and help others who need it more than I do.


Niamiah Jefferson

Youth Leader | she/her/hers |

Niamiah Jefferson is a senior at Ponaganset High School. As an African American student who attends a predominantly white school, she feels as though her voice is being silenced, and does not see enough curriculum about people of color being taught. As a part of ARISE, she aspires to make the voices of marginalized groups heard in areas like her school, where it holds no value, and would like to have more ethnic based curriculum that focuses on people of color. Along with being a part of ARISE, she is a hard working student who participates in track and field and is inspired by J.Cole.



Youth Leader | he/him/his |

Hi, you can call me Ger or Jay. Proud Hmong. ARISE Family.

I'm tired of seeing this world rot, the rich living their best life, while the middle and lower is slowly dying. Youth like us are being left a messed up world to take care of. As a youth leader I'm willing to take steps out of my comfort zone to make change in the world because we are the present and the future. When eave the face of this earth I'm going to make sure I had a huge impact on those around me. I want to be the reason why others keep presevering, that's why the work we are doing is so important. I believe that advocating for youth is very important. I want to encourage the voices of those who are afraid to speak up, because I learned that if you don't speak up for yourself who will?


Akyla Proeung

Youth Leader | she/her/hers |

Hey! I’m Akyla Proeung, I am a young Cambodian girl, sixteen years old, going into my sophomore year at Cranston High School East. Born and raised in Providence, RI. I love to travel, be creative, and learn about science. I enjoy spending quality time with my family and friends. I am a very competitive person who likes to be challenged. I have been apart of ARISE summer programs since the first summer, and it has taught me a lot about myself and my history. This is how I have grown into a young activist I am now.


Gabrielle Pelaez

Youth leader | She/Her/Hers|

Hey! I’m Gabrielle or as some may call me Gabby. I’m currently a senior at Times 2 STEM Academy. I joined ARISE summer of 2018 as a participant of the Hidden Lotus program. The program helped me to dig deeper into “who I am” and “what role do I play” in my community. At first those questions were not so easy to answer but overtime the pieces were coming together on its own and explains for Itself of how much I evolved and became more self-aware as I was exposed to positivity, empowerment and community through my learning experiences with ARISE programming. I noticed and loved my growth since then. It no longer felt like a “program” it became something more that allowed growth, confidence, and being able to apply yourself to a new environment. Which impacted me to join as a youth leader. Being able to have this role I’m very excited about interacting with youth to spread and create the change we want within our community! 


Angel Pan

Youth Leader | he/him/his |

Angel Pan a.k.a Lil Loco is a young bull rising the ranks of life as a youth leader and soon to be MVP in ARISE. Throughout life he’d face adversity, but it shaped him as a person and taught him the life lesson that things do change for the better as long as you’re relentless. Angel is a talented basketball player on the court and in his room (goated at 2k.) You should get to know Loco because he will never fold or switch up on you, PROMISE! Angel currently attends Dr. Jorge Alvarez High School as a sophomore with solid grades. His reasoning behind joining ARISE is to strengthen his leadership skills because he loves the aspects of being an activist and all he wants is see people living in harmony and prospering beside one another. Angel is big hearted kid that is currently evolving everyday as an individual and ARISE is a positive impact in his life that is preparing him for the real world.


Tyler Pan

Youth Leader | he/him/his |

Tyler grew up in Lowell Massachusetts, moved to Providence, Rhode Island at the age 8. I grew up with 2 older sisters and 1 younger brother. I first found ARISE in Spring of 2019 as instructors of my Ethnic Studies course. In July 2019 he joined the "Hidden Lotus" program. Throughout that program I started to grow fond of ARISE and decided to do the other programs. Their other programs talked about educational justice and Southeast Asians. I wanted to do more and be part of something, so I decided to join the youth leader program. I am a visual arts editor on social media and display messages in my edits, I have been editing for 3 years now. I am currently 17 and still progressing and want to improve my skills and leadership through the youth leadership program.


Krisnu Chuon

Youth Leader | he/him/his or any |

Hello, my name is Krisnu and I am Cambodian. I am sixteen years old and attend Cranston High School East as a junior. I volunteer at my school's library, the Cranston Central Public Library, and Miriam Hospital. I enjoy spending quality time with my family and friends. I am a kind and competitive person. I enjoy playing card games and listening to Kpop.

Interested in applying?


Youth Leaders recruit a new cohort of youth once a year. Interested youth must go through an application process. In 2019, applicants were asked to attend an info session, submit this application form by August 9th, 2019. You can also turn in your application via paper form to our office.

Newly accepted YL will be expected to attend our orientation on August 15th, 2019 from 2-4:30PM.

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Captions (left to right):

1). Brian competing in the papaya salad eating contest at PrYSM-ARISE's Southeast Asian New Year Youth Celebration

2). Francois making a stencil of a butterfly at the PrYSM-ARISE Campaign Art Workshop

3). Patrick, Aaron, and Serrina explaining their school design at the PrYSM-ARISE Educational Justice Retreat

4). Visiting the Resilient Roots community farm in Camden during the Grassroots Asians Rising youth conference

5). ARISE Youth Leaders meeting activist and prison abolitionist Cece McDonald after the screening of her documentary, Free Cece!

6). Building projection in Philadelphia by Asian American community activists at the Grassroots Asians Rising youth conference

7). ARISE Youth Leaders at our annual Amplifying Student Voice and Leadership dinner

8). ARISE Youth Leaders Symone, Brian, and Renina

9). ARISE and PrYSM Youth Leaders participating in a school build workshop with the Center for Youth and Community Leadership in Education (CYCLE) at the PrYSM-ARISE Educational Justice Retreat

10). ARISE and PrYSM Youth Leaders at the Youth Leadership Institute in Massachusetts

11). Ger and Deijah at the Washington D.C. March for Our Lives with a poster made by Mealaktey

12). ARISE and PrYSM Youth Leaders at the PrYSM-ARISE Campaign Planning Retreat

13). Brian and Nick at the Amplifying Student Voice and Leadership School Visits

14). ARISE and PrYSM Youth Leaders facilitating a workshop at the Youth Leadership Institute in Massachusetts

15). Youth organizers from across the country at the Grassroots Asians Rising youth conference in Philadelphia

16). Destiny and Nancy posing a question to Providence city council candidates at the Providence Housing Crisis: City Council Candidate Forum.